Books Now Available: My Most Excellent Year
A Tale to Warm Your Heart

Thursday Afternoon Visits: Interviews, Blurbs, and an 8th Harry Potter Movie

I should really be packing at this point, but a few things came across my desk that I couldn't resist mentioning to you:

  • Last week I mentioned a Public School Insights interview by Claus von Zastrow with children's author Joseph Bruchac. I've since learned that Claus has been doing a whole series of literacy-related interviews. On March 6th he talked with National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka about "his ambassadorial duties, his long-term efforts to encourage more children to read, and some of his forthcoming projects." On March 11th he talked with two middle school educators, Michael de Vito and Carmen Macchia, about the "remarkable story of how they and their colleagues created a safe and positive school climate, a richer, broader curriculum focused on literacy and aligned to state assessments, a commitment to literacy across the curriculum, intensive collaboration among school staff, and strong support for teachers' work." Finally, "rounding out (the site's) two-week celebration of NEA's Read Across America this year is Public School Insights' telephone interview with Don Deshler, one of the nation's most respected experts on adolescent literacy." I've added Public School Insights to my Google Reader - I think it's an excellent resource, and I look forward to reading future posts. One feature that I really like is that the interviews have a highlights version available, as well as the option to skip to a particular section of the interview.
  • Over at the PaperTigers Blog, Aline talks about the importance of reading and being read to, and the value in finding anecdotal success stories behind the statistics. The idea is that while some people are motivated sufficiently by the statistics around reading aloud, for others personal anecdotes will resonate more, and help make a difference.
  • Cheryl Rainfield talks about encouraging children to read through book events. She highlights several news stories about how schools celebrate books with children, saying "Creating events where children can have fun, while encouraging them to read, instead of forcing books on them as if they’re a chore or homework…. I think the fun approach is so much more likely to succeed." I certainly agree with her. Cheryl also wrote recently about a nonprofit called Literature for Life that encourages teenage mothers to read books.
  • At Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Jules has a new installment of her recurring feature: 7 Picture Book Tips for Impossibly Busy Parents. The idea is to feature books that have been out for long enough that they should be available in libraries. Titles discussed include Iggy Peck, Architect (which I've just received a copy of, and look forward very much to reading), and several others.
  • Meanwhile, at Chicken Spaghetti, Susan shares 50 Easy Readers with a "Wow!" Factor: Exciting Nonfiction for 1st and 2nd Graders. Susan says: "Many six and seven year olds want their nonfiction and they want it exciting. Shipwrecks! Escapes! Dinosaurs! Exclamation points! Here is a thriller of a list that caters to that very crowd. It comes from Candace Herbst at the Westport (CT) Public Library; she runs the Book Voyages club for first and second graders. I've added bookstore links (Powell's, Barnes & Noble) so that you can see the books. Plenty of older children will like these titles, too."
  • I have to admit that I don't usually read anything from the back of book covers because I like to face each book with as few preconceived expectations as possible. However, I am embarrassed to have missed the fact that the ARC of Susan Beth Pfeffer's the dead & the gone (which I own and have read) featured a blurb from Bookshelves of Doom about Pfeffer's first book, Life As We Knew It. Way to go, Leila! It is so wonderful to see Harcourt paying attention to blogger feedback, and to see Leila, whose reviews I always enjoy, get noticed. Thanks for Fuse #8 for the head's up. I'm glad that I learned about this now, because a certain niece of mine is visiting soon, and I may have to relinquish my advance copy of d&g.
  • Incidentally, if you enjoyed LAWKI and/or d&g, you really must read Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog. The blog is wry, entertaining, and gives a writer's eye view of the entire writing and publishing process. Not to mention fun sketches.
  • And speaking of members of the Kidlitosphere getting more broad attention, our own MotherReader is now blogging part-time at, "a unique website where kids, parents, teachers, librarians and authors can read, create and buy quality children’s picture books." I am thrilled to MotherReader's entertaining and insightful posts getting out there for a broader pool of readers.
  • In case anyone is wondering why young adult authors sometimes choose to write about edgy or depressing subjects, check out this post by Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why. Jay shares, with permission, two messages that he received from teens in response to his book (about a teen who commits suicide). I don't think there's any question that by writing 13 Reasons Why, Jay has changed people's lives in a meaningful and positive way. What an amazing thing!
  • Darla from Books & Other Thoughts pointed me to a great little article about the scientific benefits of being a bookworm. The RealAge tip of the day the other day was "Pick Up a Book, Bulk Up Your Brain". The article, though short, includes things like this: "Being a bookworm doesn’t just make you smart. It makes you mentally tough. It builds so much cognitive reserve that bookworms’ brains may be bolstered against bad things like pollution and toxins." How cool is that?
  • Via Wizards Wireless, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be split into two parts for the movie, filmed at the same time, but aired six months apart. I say, if it lets the producers get more detail from the books up on the screen, more power to them. 
  • Via Open Wide, Look Inside, tomorrow is Pi Day. Yes, that's the correct spelling. It's a day in honor of the number Pi. I always liked Pi, so I'm happy to see it getting some attention.

And now, I really must get back to packing. Happy reading!